Ditching alcohol in the first month of the New Year has become tradition for many people. Some people might be saving their money and some do it as a sort of start-the-year-off-right detox and decide to give up alcohol for the entire month. 

Such practice is called “Dry January”. 
Dry January is a public health campaign that urges people to abstain from alcohol for the month of January. It started small as a campaign in the UK, but has now become a major trend and thing people do annually. 

But the question is; does avoiding alcohol for a month do much for your health? 

We asked founder of Hope on Hopkins Distillery, Lucy Beard and founder and Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Bars Akademia, Stephanie Simbo to share their views on Drynuary. 

LUXURIATE: Sip a gin drink while taking in views of Table Mountain.

Beard said Dry January is a good idea, but in her view and as someone who is totally focused on producing alcohol, it goes a bit overboard.

“There is certainly something to be said for giving your body a rest and laying off the drink for a while particularly following festive season excesses but there is no need to go totally out. I rather believe in “GINuary” where you drink beautifully crafted boutique gins in moderation.

Many feel Dry January is healthy because it allows the body to detox and for the liver to recover. However, there is an overwhelming amount of research which shows that it in fact takes the liver merely two days to detox and whereas Dry January may seem a good idea in theory, in practice moderation is key and rather give up the alcohol for two days per week and then drink in moderation the other five days. 

My motto is drink less but drink better, which is better than any Dry January idea”, she said. 

Lautus Savvy White is a new de-alcoholised wine PICTURE: Supplied
Simbo said Dry January has been a response to the increase of alcohol consumption in the UK and is now global.  

“Harmful drinking is a problem that everyone from the industry or not should focus on. The idea brought up to quit drinking for a month in an effort to reduce binge drinking which is good. When dieting for example, experts recommend not cutting integrally on specific food groups but rather eating with moderation.

If people can do Dry January not as kickstand but a real cleanse and still keep a healthy consumption afterwards and avoid harmful drinking, I am all for it. It would be better to have two alcohol free days each week all year rather than one-month abstinence. 

If Dry January helps people to have a better relationship with alcohol, a healthy one, then it is good for ones health. 

As a comparison, alcohol contains almost the same amount of calories as pure fat, so abstaining for a month could reduce your weight, assuming you don’t compensate for the lost calories by eating more or eating junk food.